This work presents a numerical study on the flow inside a gas-liquid cylindrical hydrocyclone separator. This equipment operates with a free-surface liquid film flow, which is a combination of a centrifugal and a gravitational movement originated by a tangential nozzle. The computational package ANSYS-CFX was employed to simulate the flow using an inhomogeneous Eulerian-Eulerian multiphase flow model with the free surface approach to capture the phases interface. Fluid dynamics is examined for a range of fluid viscosities and flow rates for a single-phase liquid flow at the inlet. The results of the simulations provided basis for the development of a compact mechanistic model for calculating velocity components, film thickness and other variables. This model was derived by analyzing the motion of a fluid element and then by including additional terms that represent the sudden expansion of the flow at the inlet of the cylindrical chamber. Then, the terms included and some model coefficients were calibrated using the numerical results. The outcomes of this work can be used to predict the flow dynamics in a hydrocyclone, which is a fundamental step for more complex evaluations such as estimating the separation efficiency and developing new constructive concepts for the equipment.

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